GAA Football

Omagh pair the concern for Tyrone ahead of Derry clash

 Tyrone's Conor Meyler may not be fit enough to face Derry in nine days time
Picture by Philip Walsh
Brendan Crossan in Garvaghey

CONOR Meyler and Conor Clarke are Tyrone’s biggest fitness doubts ahead of their Ulster Championship clash with Derry in just nine days time.

Their Omagh team-mate Justin McMahon has a better chance of being fit for the Red Hands’ opener at Celtic Park, while Tiernan McCann’s hamstring strain appears to have improved.

Speaking at last night’s press briefing in Garvaghey, boss Mickey Harte admitted that the greater fitness concerns centre around Meyler and Clarke.

“The Omagh men would seem to be challenged to be ready in time, but you couldn’t be definitive on that just now, but there certainly would be a challenge for them,” revealed Harte.

“The two Conors would probably have more to do than Justy. Justy would have regular injury problems in terms of muscle strains and that, so we’d be hoping that it’s something that we can manage over the next couple of days.

“But the injuries aren’t as bad as speculation would have it at the weekend,” added Harte. “There are always a few injuries when you’re working with a squad of 30-plus players, and when they’re playing rounds of league football, there are always some niggles that come into play.”

Harte, who is entering his 14th year as Tyrone senior football manager, ruled out a surprise appearance of Ronan McNabb at Celtic Park on Sunday week.

“It is too early to ask him to go from no competitive football, or 20 minutes of competitive club football, after being out with a cruciate, to go in to be ready at that level,” Harte said.

“I think he’s made wonderful progress, he has really worked so hard to get himself into the condition that he’s in, and I think it’s a great credit to him. He really went to town on getting ready as fast as he could.”

Asked by reporters about Tyrone’s prospects of dislodging Dublin as All-Ireland champions this year, Harte smiled: “Dublin’s a long way from here, both geographically and in football terms.”

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